Joan Fontcuberta: Pandora’s Camera

The text Pandora’s Camera; Photography after Photography portrays a strong view and exploration of typical digital retouching and also explores examples of artists that challenged the view of what is glamour in an alternative perception of public figures.

Joan Fontcuberta begins to discuss an advert by company Chanel and how when it came to using actress Keira Knightley in celebrity endorsement for their perfume, the actress was expected to go for a more sensual ‘feminine’ shape, instantly shaming her slim figure and lack sizing in her breasts. Company Touchstone pictures picked upon the same body discrediting and enhanced the actress’s breasts in photoshop.

This exploration into the two companies that discouraged Keira’s body lead to quotes discussing deception and the truth. “Truth should be shown not naked, but in a nightgown” Francisco de Quevedo. My interpretation of this statement suggests that the truth should be shown, it shouldn’t have to be exposed so boldly, but also shouldn’t be covered up. This was followed by a statement by Thomas Fuller “Craft must have clothes, but truth loves to go naked” Meaning to lie, states you’re covering up the truth, but ‘Truth loves to go naked’ expresses honesty is freedom when you’re not having to hide anything. When Joan discusses the Chanel advert in relation to the quotes, he talks about digital retouching mitigating Kiera’s chest and how digital surgery like this is not an exclusive privilege to women, then refers to enhancements used on Sylvester Stallone.

Throughout the text, Joan continues to talk about how digital retouching is standard, it goes without saying that there isn’t a digital media company that wouldn’t consider it, continuing this on by mentioning that within digital technology, “if it’s possible…sooner or later it’s going to happen” Meaning if you can enhance images and fake it to make it… why not? He carries this on with a discussion on celebrities caught in the nude… then states “it’s unlikely that many people believe these photos are authentic”  introducing artist Alison Jackson who uses Photoshop to create photo fiction of public figures for humor, with an example of using George W. Bush in an image of him baffled by a Rubiks cube. Joan discusses that these types of pictures by Alison Jackson don’t deceive anyone, she just creates fantasies. “Their condition as fiction is a product of our perception”. Joan means the photo fiction of celebs is merely a result of how the public have been made to see them.

Later in the text, Joan speaks about how we don’t need to worry about how we look anymore because we’re in a society where we’re more focused on the image rather than what is real. But then later discusses how no matter how much you fake something, it won’t change what’s reality in relation to the perfume advert with Keira Knightley… “The retouched Keira maybe more fascinating, but the extra attractiveness makes no difference to the smell of the scent”

The text also divides blame between who’s at fault when it comes to media manipulation, is it the photographers or the editors? Joan includes a quote “Don’t blame the bullets, blame the speed at which they hit people” Suggesting that photography is the bullet and photoshop is the speed that hits the people with such force. But within the quote lies “Though everyone knows that bullets are designed specifically to travel at that velocity” meaning it’s the photography that is designed to hit people at such a speed, the photoshop is merely a curve ball on the way.

Joan concludes the text with a discussion on hypocrisy of editors and how they wave codes of ethic when the images are done by the photographers, if any criticism comes from enhancing too much but when it comes to gaining corporate interest, editors are more than happy to permit and justify the work.

Changing Places: The Rebranding Of Photography

The book Changing Place: The Rebranding Of Photography as Contemporary Art by Mischovi discusses how the journey of photography has been accepted as a contemporary form of art. Photography was originally viewed as a matter that would run alongside work that was already produced by artists, instead of having its own place in contemporary art. The text mentions Alan Bowness’s statement on how directors wouldn’t collect work from artists that were purely photography, they would only display work that was a natural extension to a piece of art. This meant that unless there was a piece of Art that was either painted or drawn photography would not exist in The Tate Gallery.


Moschovi continues to discuss how art is so significant and how people will come from all over the world to see if, yet with photography, it is too easily accessible, meaning it will be featured in more than one place, which could therefore reduce the works value and interest from the public to go and view it. The public would travel from all over the world to lay eyes on such paintings as Leonardos Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa . However photography could be created in the Masses meaning it could be a Multiple Museums and Galleries at once creating less of a buzz about a specific piece of work.


Furthermore this was all going to change as during the 80’s and due to the rise in technology photography became more recognized and could be used in many mediums such as fashion, documentary and as an art form. Overall this was a time where people noticed that life is expanding and we are moving forward as societies. It was time for something new and photography was just one of many significant changes that introduced this.

Review: Robert Adams: Beauty in photography

My opinion very early on into the reading of this essay is that it is very striking and meaningful, Robert Adams certainly raises a lot of awareness and questions when it comes to debating what truly is beauty in photography. At the beginning, I was immediately drawn to his comments on the goal of art being ‘beauty’ and questions how do we actually judge this? Backing his view up with an enlightening discussion on ‘Form’ and how form is something we all as photographers/artists experience but don’t necessarily pay enough attention to it.

In a way, I would say Adams challenged his point with referencing work from Edward Weston and his piece on bell peppers and how the subjects were limited yet Weston makes it unlimited with exceptional use of form. What also stood out for me was Adams discussion on how deception is necessary if the goal of art (Beauty) is to be reached and also says “Only pictures that look as if they had been easily made can convincingly suggest that beauty is commonplace (natural)”

Towards the end of the essay, Adams concludes with beauty being linked unavoidably to belief, from my perspective, I would say this suggests that beauty is all down to how we perceive an image as an individual, you are your own eyes and opinion, beauty can be defined differently to everyone.